Infrastructure Needs Top $44 Billion, EPA Says

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, California needs $44.5 billion to fix aging water systems over the next two decades.
That finding was contained in a federal study in which California topped a national list of water infrastructure needs.
In California and elsewhere, the biggest needs are to repair and upgrade water conveyance lines.


Ancient Slide Area Delays Dam Work

Discovery of an ancient slide area has created a $200 million headache and major construction delays for San Francisco’s project to replace Calaveras Dam, a key East Bay storage feature in the city’s Hetch Hetchy water supply system.
The geologic problem, not detectable at the surface, escaped notice during pre-project geologic investigations.
Engineers have ordered excavation of a hill at the dam site to create a considerably flatter slope they believe will be a stable foundation for the new 220-foot-high earth and rock fill dam.
It will replace an existing dam, constructed in 1925, determined to be seismically unsafe.
Calaveras Reservoir is under a storage restriction order of 30% of its capacity of 98,650 acre-feet.


Invasive Snail Species Spreading

Another invasive species is causing problems in a growing number of Southern California waterways.
Despite six years of efforts to stop them, New Zealand mudsnails have spread to nearly a dozen creeks in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Six years ago, only three creeks were infested, according to the Ventura Star.
They have also shown up in several inland California rivers and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
“They just literally take over the entire bottom of the stream,” said Mark Abramson, senior watershed adviser for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation.
Researchers worry that the tiny snails can crowd out other species that serve as food for fish, a problem being experienced by an infestation of quagga mussels in parts of the Southland.
Some snails are only as big as a grain of sand. They range upward to one eighth of an inch.
In California, the mud snails have few predators, can reproduce asexually, live in any type of water, can survive on dry surfaces for days and are easily be transported on clothing, boats or pets. A single snail can infest a stream


Water Workers Are in Short Supply

California is having difficulties retaining sufficient numbers of trained workers to efficiently operate and maintain the state’s complex water delivery system.
That could bode ill for farms and cities which depend upon the State Water Project for deliveries.
The California Department of Water Resources is being described as a “farm system” for other government agencies and private firms as a result of the state’s falling pay levels.

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